Monday, March 30, 2009

West Virginia House of Delegates Defeats Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

The West Virginia House of Delegates has voted against advancing a proposed constitutional amendment on marriage.

The delegates voted 67-30 to reject an attempt by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia to put the issue before voters.

Earlier this month, the resolution stalled in a house committee and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia paid for a telemarketing campaign that some West Virginia Democratic lawmakers said was designed to “intimidate” them. But that effort failed to move the bill, so last week they pressed GOP lawmakers for action and that prompted Republican delegates to move by to force it to the full House.

Republican [sic] are overwhelmingly out numbered [sic] by Democrats in the West Virginia House and today’s vote followed along party lines.

West Virginia has had marriage law since 2000. But the F P C of W VA says it doesn’t go far enough and could be challenged in court.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Censorship and the dying rags

Brenda Norrell
News of Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

It is becoming popular to moan the death of US newspapers. Americans like to be romantic, nostalgic, when things pass on. But the truth is newspapers are not just dying because of the Internet, shrinking advertising and dismal profits.

US newspapers are dying because they became the prostitutes of commercialism and stopped telling the truth. Many people stopped buying newspapers because they became the rags of a corrupt industry. Too many journalists swallowed their pride, ignored their integrity and did what they had to do to pay the mortgage. They followed the marching orders of editors and publishers who forgot, or never knew, what journalism was intended to do.

Television news became entertainment, a boiling sea of lies and half truths. It focuses on a few murders to hypnotize Americans. It sensationalizes and fuels the inherent racism. When it comes to promoting the war and warmongering corporations, no one does it better than television news, regurgitating US press releases as if those were truth.

For readers of newspapers, it became too hard to tell the wag-the-dog spin of the press releases of politicians and corporations from real news and real truth. For corporations and politicians, it became too easy to take their lush profits and threaten a lawsuit whenever the real truth was exposed. The corporations and politicians learned how to kill off the good journalists, whether it was with the threat of a million dollar lawsuit, a bloody murder on the backroads or streets of Mexico or an explosion in Iraq...[Story continued here]


Friday, March 27, 2009

Kazakh President calls for the creation of a single global currency, the "Acmetal"

Kazakhstan's president called Wednesday for the creation of a single global currency as a potential solution for the current financial turmoil.

Discussions on a currency operating under the aegis of the United Nations should be discussed at the upcoming Group of 20 meeting in London, Nursultan Nazarbayev said - without detailing how this proposal might resolve the crisis.

"The creation of a global currency should be put on the agenda of all major political and economic bodies, summits and forums, including the G8 and the G20," Nazarbayev said at an international economic forum in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

The world's 20 leading industrialized and emerging nations are set to meet on April 2 in London [Story continued here]


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The gay "Anne Coulter," Tammy Bruce, calls First Lady Michelle Obama 'trash in the White House'

Tammy Bruce, guest host for Laura Ingram's radio show, had some harsh words for First Lady Michelle Obama.

Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent."

"That's what he's married to," Bruce said. "...You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind,....[Story continued here]


Why I called Justice Scalia a Homophobe

by Congressman Barney Frank

While responding to questions from journalists about my characterization of Justice Antonin Scalia as a homophobe, I realized that the fact that I made that comment in conjunction with a potential lawsuit about the Defense of Marriage Act created some confusion as to my basis for that characterization.

My view that Justice Scalia is prejudiced against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is based, not on his position on marriage, but entirely on the angry minority opinions he wrote in two Supreme Court cases in which the majority held that gay and lesbian people had certain rights against discrimination regarding private consensual sex and political activity. In those two virulent dissents, Justice Scalia denounced the court majorities not simply for finding that it was unconstitutional to discriminate based on sexual orientation in cases involving political rights and the right to private consensual sex, but he also made it clear that in his view sex discrimination is not only permitted by the Constitution but is very much in society’s interest because homosexuality deserves to be treated with not only disapproval, but legal disability.

This comes out most clearly in his very vigorous abjection to the court’s decision to block a criminal prosecution against two men who had consensual sex in the privacy of their bedroom. And it is made very vivid in the passage in which he affirms society’s right to treat homosexuals unequally by citing other categories which deserves such treatment — beginning with murder....[Continuation of story here]


Saturday, March 21, 2009

A WV Conservative Christian's thoughts on gay equality and WV Senate Bill 238

by Jeffrey Moats

I was recently looking over Senate Bill 238 concerning the protection of homosexuals from discrimination in West Virginia. While I think that private individuals should be able to discriminate however they want in the renting of their property or filling jobs with their company, the fact that so many groups are already protected it only seems logical that sexual orientation would be protected as well. I am glad to see that Senate Bill 238 is moving along.

As I was thinking about this bill the whole subject of gay rights came to mind. First, let me state that as a Christian (a struggling one, but still a Christian) I believe that homosexuality is immoral. However homosexuality does not harm me, my family, or anyone else. Some may argue that homosexuals are a bad influence on children, but in this age of rampant vulgarity I find that argument amusing. In a world where children are surrounded by ignorance, vulgarity, violence, sex and all sorts of crudeness, two guys holding hands in a gas station is not a big deal. Government has no business regulating the behavior of people in any way unless it causes harm to others. Homosexuality causes no harm to anyone else so there is no reason that gay and lesbian citizens should not be afforded the same rights as everyone else in our society.

The major gay rights issue these days is gay marriage. While I am opposed to gay marriage, I am also opposed to the government’s role in marriage altogether. Marriage should be between one man, one woman, and God. The state has no role to play. However, under our current system married couples are afforded privileges that others in society do not have. It is quite simply mean spirited and cruel to not allow gays and lesbians the same rights. Clearly, gay and lesbian couples should be afforded the same rights as anyone else. The whole idea that gay and lesbian couples are not allowed to participate in end of life planning, estate transactions, and other benefits afforded to married couples is discriminatory and some sort of legal remedy should be created. When it is my turn to kick the bucket I want who I want in the room, I want who I want to get my stuff, and gay and lesbian individuals should have the same rights.

With the government spending more money than the next 10 generations can ever hope to repay, with Islamic terrorists wanting to saw our heads off, and a multitude of other problems that could cause the collapse of our way of life, it seems to me that sexual orientation of individuals should be one of the last things that anyone should be worried about. Pass the dang bill and let’s get on with the government’s work.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Vermont Senate Panel Unanimously Approves Gay Marriage Bill

Vermont Senate committee has unamimously approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 on Friday to advance the measure that was the topic of an emotional public hearing on Wednesday that drew hundreds to the Statehouse.

The full Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.

Gov. Jim Douglas has said he opposes the measure, but....[More]


The People of West Virginia announce formation of their first statewide GLBT Equality organization

Regardless of what the superstitious might say, Friday the 13th was a very lucky day in West Virginia.

''Today, in the State Senate, we passed ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act),'' Stephen Skinner said March 13, referring to Senate Bill 238, now facing a House battle to protect West Virginians against housing or employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. ''We sort of timed our public announcement to coincide with this.'' (See Video coverage of Senate Bill 238 debate)

That public announcement is the one telling everyone that West Virginia, whose border rests little more than 50 miles from the District's, now has a statewide organization fighting for GLBT equality: Fairness West Virginia.

Adding that Fairness has already been up and running behind the scenes -- ''zeroing in on lobbying like a laser'' -- Skinner, founder and president of Fairness, says there is more to this new organization than getting things done in the state capital, Charleston.

''To have people who have deep roots in West Virginia self-identify as gay is going to have a huge impact,'' he says. ''That goes back to the politics of being out. If a [gay] 13-year-old sees doctors [and] lawyers being out, then we have made a difference.''

Whatever differences Fairness may make, there is no doubting that there is interest in the nascent organization. A pledge to have 1,000 supporters registered within three weeks of going live has been well surpassed, at least in terms of Facebook buddies.

A more tangible measure of this new force may be its 12-member board of academics, attorneys, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and veterans, many of whom have ties to Washington. Skinner, 40, is among them, maintaining an apartment in the District, though he practices law at his family's firm in Charles Town and resides primarily in Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.

''Part of the reason I wanted to come back was to make...[More]


Greenbrier resort files for bankruptcy

The historic Greenbrier resort, which has gone from hosting presidents and royalty to posting losses, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday and unveiled a plan to sell itself to hotel giant Marriott International Inc. for up to $130 million.

A recession-fueled drop in demand for luxury hotel rooms helped drive The Greenbrier to a deal that would end nearly a century of ownership by railroad company CSX Corp. and its predecessors of the resort, which blossomed from an 18th century sulfur spring retreat to a society hotspot in the roaring 1920s.

Under the sales plan revealed in the bankruptcy filing, Marriott would receive...[More]


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco critique the monetary economy

Photo by James Estrin, New York Times

Two hours into Z-Day, the educational forum associated with the online movie “Zeitgeist,” Peter Joseph, the film’s director and the evening’s M.C., stepped out from behind his lectern and walked forward earnestly on the stage.

In his goatee and mustache and tieless in a brown suit, Mr. Joseph had been lecturing for nearly 90 minutes on the unsustainable nature of the money-based economy — on cyclical consumption, planned obsolescence, corporate malfeasance and piles of poisonous waste. “It’s time that we wake up,” he intoned, speaking solemnly through a wireless clip-on mike. “The doomsday scenario, the big contraction, might be happening right now. The system of monetary exchange is — in the face of advancing technology — completely obsolete.”

This drew wild applause from the sold-out crowd, a patchwork of perhaps 900 people who paid $10 a head on Sunday night to sit in a packed auditorium at the Borough of Manhattan Community College on Chambers Street near the West Side Highway. Z-Day events were taking place from New England to New Zealand, but this was the big one: the marquee happening with the marquee names.

There, in the crowd, was Jacque Fresco, an industrial designer and the engineering guru of what people unironically called “the movement.” Mr. Fresco, an elfin 93-year-old...[More]


Washington Post calls for passage of the Uniting American Families Act

THE UNITING American Families Act would allow gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency in the United States. The bill, introduced last month in the Senate by Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and in the House by Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), would add "permanent partner" and "permanent partnership" after the words "spouse" and "marriage" in relevant sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If passed, it would right a gross unfairness.

Under the proposal, a "permanent partnership" is defined as a "committed, intimate relationship" with another adult "in which both parties intend a lifelong commitment." The couple must be financially interdependent and not married to or in a permanent partnership with anyone else. And the partners can't be related. The benefit comes with the same immigration restrictions and enforcement standards that apply to heterosexual couples. Fraudulent permanent partnerships face the same penalties as fake marriages: up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

"Under current law, committed same-sex foreign partners of American citizens are unable to use the family immigration system, which accounts for a majority of the green cards and immigrant visas granted annually by the United States," Mr. Leahy said upon introducing the bill. "The promotion of family unity has long been part of federal immigration policy, and we should honor that principle by providing all Americans the opportunity to be with their loved ones." According to the most recent census, he added, about 35,000 binational, same-sex couples are living in the United States. The new legislation would ensure that the family connections valued under immigration law are extended to gays and lesbians.

The strain of the status quo on gay and lesbian binational couples should not be discounted. Because their relationships are not legally recognized by the United States, ....[More]


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gays blamed for America's collapse by 2010, according to top Russian scholar

In the photo, gay rights activists protested in defiance of a City Hall ban on Sunday, marching in front of the Moscow State Conservatory and unfurling a banner demanding greater rights for gays and lesbians from the window of an apartment on Tverskaya Ulitsa, just blocks from the Kremlin. It seems that Russia has its own "problems" with gays and lesbians.

MOSCOW — If you’re inclined to believe Igor Panarin, and the Kremlin wouldn’t mind if you did, then President Barack Obama will order martial law this year, the U.S. will split into six rump-states before 2011, and Russia and China will become the backbones of a new world order.

Panarin might be easy to ignore but for the fact that he is a dean at the Foreign Ministry’s school for future diplomats and a regular on Russia’s government-guided TV channels. And his predictions fit into the anti-American story line of the Kremlin leadership.

"There is a high probability that the collapse of the United States will occur by 2010,"

Panarin told dozens of students, professors and diplomats Tuesday at the Diplomatic Academy — a lecture the ministry pointedly invited the Associated Press and other foreign media to attend.

The prediction from Panarin, a former spokesman for Russia’s Federal Space Agency and reportedly an ex-KGB analyst, meshes with....[Story continued here]


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Murdered and persecuted by governments...It's time this STOPS!

Murdered and persecuted by governments. Arrested and beaten for being who we are. Our rights put up for popular vote, time and time again.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been the target of hate and discrimination for centuries and our fight for marriage is part of a long struggle for equality and acceptance.

As we work to overturn Prop 8, we must share our stories and our history. We need those who are not yet on our side, to understand that Prop 8 is part of a history of discrimination that must end.

Today, EQCA launched a statewide ad that delivers that message.

Watch the ad.

By making the connection between past persecution and current discrimination, we will increase the awareness and understanding that are vital to our cause and move closer to our goal of true equality and acceptance.

Take action to ensure that everyone learns our history, connects it to our present struggle and joins the fight.