28 May 2010

DADT repeal? No, it is neither.

Passage of the "Liberman Amendment" currently in the news does not repeal DADT, does not allow gays to serve openly in the military, and furthermore, it doesn't even require the replacement policy to be nondiscriminatory.

Like Obama's "extending benefits to LGBT federal employees," it's another cynical "Look at me, I'm doing the right thing!" performance piece for the benefit of the Democrat base, bereft of any actual benefit to the LGBT community.

1. It isn't DADT.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a policy directive, not federal law; thus, it is not subject to Congressional repeal.

DADT is the nickname for Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, issued by President Bill Clinton late in 1993. DADT was intended to ameliorate the effect of the very extreme "Homosexual Exclusion" law (10 U.S.C. §654) hastily passed by Congress earlier that year. The law Congress is currently considering repealing is this Homosexual Exclusion law.

Like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton campaigned on the promise of enacting a military nondiscrimination policy, and he was elected. Congress, then as now, sensibly responded, ZOMFG! TEH GHEYZ R N UR BOIZ BATHROOMZ!!11! EVRYBDY PANCKE!!! and House Armed Services Chairman Ron Dellums (D-CA) hastily inserted language into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (10 U.S.C. § 654) which he'd cribbed from Ronald Reagan's Department of Defense Directive 1332.14, itself an absolute bar on gays serving in the military, period.

The Defense Authorization Act with Dellums' Amendment passed Congress with veto-proof bipartisan majorities about six months after Clinton's election, and only four months after Dellums proposed the language — proving that when they need to do something really important (like keeping gays in their place) Congress can act with terrifying speed. Clinton signed it, enacting bigotry into federal law and breaking his campaign promise.

Late that year, President Clinton issued Defense Directive 1304.26 (Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Harass, Don't Pursue) as a "compromise" to allow deeply closeted gay people to join and serve as long as their sexual identity was neither disclosed by themselves nor disclosed by others.

DADT wasn't a policy that directly discriminated against all gays, only the honest ones. Openly gay people continued to be excluded from joining and discharged if already serving. While DADT might have been intended to stop witch-hunts, as a practical matter it didn't. DADT also discriminated against the unfortunate. Vengeful comrades or former partners routinely rat out gay servicemembers, who are discharged on such "evidence."

Meanwhile, a military desperately hungry for fresh meat issued thousands of waivers to applicants with inadequate aptitude scores, health problems, and criminal convictions beginning in 2003 and lasting until the recent financial depression helpfully created mass unemployment. Even as the military welcomed violent armed robbers, it discharged more than 13,500 otherwise qualified soldiers for their insufficient fascination with penis-in-vagina sex.

2. It isn't repeal.

The Lieberman Amendment merely provides a mechanism for possible repeal, leaving the status quo in place while the Defense Department (1) completes its year-long "comprehensive review" (by prior agreement with POTUS, due in December), and (2) promulgates new rules (no deadline provided). Discrimination and discharges will continue to be the rule for the foreseeable future.

The amendment also allows that if either the president, secretary of defense, or chairman of the joint chiefs of staff refuses to "certify" those new DOD rules as being, in his opinion, inconsistent with "military standards," the repeal mechanism isn't triggered and it dies, leaving the law as is.

Ultimately, the Lieberman Amendment grants the DOD the power to both conceive the replacement policy and obtain its late-term abortion. That's not repeal, it's a scheme for the possibility of repeal at the unanimous discretion of a three-party body, two of whom are unelected and military.

3. It doesn't end discrimination.

It is significant that nothing in the Lieberman Amendment requires the DOD's new rules and policies to be nondiscriminatory. I fully expect military discrimination to continue in fresh new ways, (even as I fully expect President Obama to hold his "certification" hostage until after his election in 2012, to guarantee the LGBT vote).

It's also noteworthy that Congress didn't require any supporting study or formal review to enact an extreme antigay law, but repealing that law necessitates a year-long "comprehensive review," followed by another unspecified period for the top brass to careful study that review.

This somehow critically important "comprehensive review" is indeed comprehensive to the extent that it that includes the input of everyone except gay servicemembers and their families. In thoroughly kafkaesque fashion, if a servicemember volunteers how antigay policy actually affects or might affect them as a gay person, that's a sufficient "tell" to initiate discharge proceedings under DADT. Seriously, could that be more fucked up?

Even if everything goes optimally, reasonable new policies are enacted and the Homosexual Exclusion law is repealed, the Uniform Code of Military Justice's Article 125 consensual sodomy ban (unaffected by the Lieberman Amendment) will almost certainly continue to be applied with virtual exclusivity against only the gay practitioners of oral or anal sex, as civilian sodomy laws were until 2003's Lawrence v Texas. There's no way bigots are going to permit the foreclosure of every legal process to rid themselves of unwanted gays.

Here's the Lieberman Amendment in full if you want to check my work. It's a pretty easy read, so I guess it's got that going for it. For extra credit, compare that sack of crap it to the vastly superior Murphy/Tauscher bill.

Here's the bigoted company we keep.

27 May 2010

Kill some time today.

Jam Band Fan or Taliban?

Guess whether the bearded idiot is into weed or jihad!


See? It's harder than you think.

Please to enjoy.

20 May 2010

Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

Apparently the US Coast Guard — a branch of the US military — is now under the command of BP executives, having been tasked with enforcing BP's corporate policy against the media.

(It is not noted in this excerpt that South Pass is the very tip of the Louisiana bayou in Plaquemines Parish.)



Had you still harbored a shred of belief that this country is not actually run by corporations, I hope that clip has disabused you of that notion.

Waterways are inherently public and public use is always paramount; so said the Supreme Court in Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois (1892) (blocking the state legislature's attempt to grant title to most of Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline to the corporation).

I'm not sure why BP imagines it has a right to bar the public from public waterways. I'm also unclear as to why Coast Guard officers have chosen to enforce corporate policy rather than a law they really should be familiar with.

I also wonder why the CBS reporter didn't tell them, "I'm national broadcast media, you idiots. So please, PRETTY PLEASE, arrest me right here, right now, on camera. While you're at it, be sure to arraign me in a BP Corporation court and sentence me to a BP Corporation prison, too. Seriously, are you people insane?"

18 May 2010

If only, Reverend. If only.

My circle of friends is surpassingly fussy about the language. It's the source of a number of inside jokes.

For example, recently Beloved and I were relishing someone's hilariously inapt use of the word "literally," when I decided that I was going to start using the term wrong purposefully. Bea got in on the joke and promptly became the past master.

Bastard. He does everything better than me.

Anyway, I got my biggest laugh of the day from Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He was quoted thus in an article, Ex-Obama Pastor: 'Obama Threw Me Under the Bus'
"No one in the Obama administration will respond to me, listen to me, talk to me or read anything that I write to them. I am 'toxic' in terms of the Obama administration," Wright wrote the president of Africa 6000 International earlier this year.
"I am 'radioactive,' Sir. When Obama threw me under the bus, he threw me under the bus literally!
[emphasis added]
funny animated gif

Oh lordy, that was glorious.

16 May 2010

Porn as SexEd

CAUTION: Not Safe for Work.

Cindy Gallop (http://makelovenotporn.com) makes the case that the ubiquity of hardcore internet porn has, by default, become the sex education standard for young people, and this has happened because intelligent adults have ceded this vitally important aspect of personal development to the lowest common denominator: religion.

It's a brief and interesting presentation from a woman who is not, in fact, anti-porn.

12 May 2010

Rocking the Sixth Grade Festival.

On YouTube, the following video is captioned thus:
greyson97 — April 28, 2010 — Me performing "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga at Edmond's Sixth Grade Festival. I own no rights to this song.
Maybe not, but you totally PWND.

Jupiter removes belt.

Before:
The band was present in June 2009 (Image: Anthony Wesley)
Image by Anthony Wesley
After:
Image by Anthony Wesley
The missing line is called the Southern Equatorial Belt.
In astrophysical terms, removal of the belt means an ass-whupping is imminent.

11 May 2010

Schadenfreudelicious.

Watching Christofascist George Rekers' Rentboy Scandal unfold has been providing me chemotherapy level doses of schadenfreude.
Reverend Rekers made his first appearance here at the crustybastard waaaay back in November of 2008. It was a post about the absolute lunacy of the expert testimony used in Florida's defense of its ban on gay adoption.
Florida's Attorney General (and fellow Christofascist) Bill McCollum now has some regrets about that.
I think our team’s done what it should do. We’ve been defending the constitution of the state and we’ve been representing the Department of Children and Families, who hired him and paid him and needed expert witnesses and he was available and credentialed.
I wouldn’t do it again if I knew what I know today but I didn't know that then and neither did anybody else.
Here's his revised statement.
As hired counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families, our office is committed to providing our client with the best possible legal representation in this matter.
Dr. Rekers, a professor emeritus from University of South Carolina and a neuropsychologist with a degree from UCLA, came to our attention by recommendation from another academic after an exhaustive search for potential expert witnesses who were willing to testify. Dr. Rekers had exceptional credentials and he had provided testimony in similar cases on two separate occasions, one of which was a Florida case in Federal Court.
The contract was executed at the direction of the Department of Children and Families, and the ACLU did not object to his position as an expert at the hearing. He has completed his testimony and is no longer involved in this case.
McCollum — ever the piece of shit — blames on the FDCF for Rekers. The department was indeed the state organ who wrote Rekers a check for more than $120,000 for his testimony, but McCollum neglects to mention that he was the one who insisted the department hire Rekers and negotiated his payment.
I love how McCollum is standing by Rekers' "exceptional credentials." Heh. Judge Cindy Lederman, presiding over the Florida Adoption Ban trial, wasn't quite so impressed:
Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.
So George "exceptional credentials" Rekers was recommended to McCollum by "another academic," was he? Hm. I wonder if the other "academic" was Walter Schumm, who also served as one of McCollum's "expert" witnesses at the Florida trial?
What does Judge Lederman have to say about Schumm?
The Department also tendered Dr. Walter Schumm, Associate Professor of Family Studies, Kansas State University, as an expert in family child development, empirical and theoretical family studies and research methodology. Dr. Schumm also integrates his religious and ideological beliefs into his research. In an article he published in the Journal of Psychology and Theology* he wrote, “With respect to the integration of faith and research, I have been trying to use statistics to highlight the truth of the Scripture.”
In another paper that he co-authored with Dr. Rekers concerning the authors' disagreement with homosexual practices, he wrote: 'Within the limitations imposed by context, errors in translation and errors of individual interpretation, we prefer to accept the authority of the Bible as the best guide for sexual decision making...after reasoned study, we make the assumption that [Scripture] contain[s] the wisdom of the Creator...'
Dr. Schumm is not a psychologist...He suggests that his re-analyses, mostly unpublished, should be accepted over the analyses of well respected researchers in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Schumm admitted that he applies statistical standards that depart from conventions in the field.
In fact, Dr. Cochran and Dr. Lamb testified that Dr. Schumm's statistical re-analyses contained a number of fundamental errors. [emphasis mine]
Besides being admired by Attorney General McCollum for their great "expertise" on the all matters regarding teh gheys, Rekers and Schumm are both fans and colleagues of each other as well as discredited sex researcher and homophobic junk scientist Paul Cameron, Ph D.
Rekers and Schumm both cite Cameron's junk science approvingly in their articles and testimony, and Schumm is also a board member of the Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Behavior — which claims to be a "peer-reviewed journal" but is actually Paul Cameron's pay-to-publish website ($500 and up.) There's only one article available at the junk science Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Behavior. It's by — surprise! — Paul Cameron.
It's probably adequate to say that Cameron has actually advocated exterminating gays. Really.
So after an "exhaustive search" for anti-gay expert witnesses, the attorney general of Florida apparently couldn't find anyone who doesn't rely on Paul Cameron's "research"? And A.G. McCollum still won't distance himself from the junk science, but only from one junk scientist because he got busted with a gay hooker?
Well, I am Jack's total lack of surprise.
McCollum is the leading candidate for governor. Florida, seriously — you bring it on yourselves.
______________________
* The Journal of Psychology and Theology is a publication of Biola University, a private self-styled "Biblically Centered Education" institution.

Good show.

10 May 2010

Chivalry in action.

I dub thee Sir Antonio "Lil' 'Ton" Collins, Knight Errant and Lord High Protector of the Realms of Waldo and Brookside.
Arise Sir Antonio, and regale us with thy tale most valiant:*
I'm sitting [in lockup] looking at the dude and asking him what he in here for. He acting like he don't want to tell me. I said "What are you in here for?" He said just a little bit of nothing.
A news report about the Waldo Rapist came on the TV. I'm looking at the picture and I look down at him and he got this little eerie little smirk on his face like he's happy about what's going on the news, all the attention he's getting.
I got very angry. "You raping people, you ain't about to be in here. I'm going to knock you." I covered up a camera and he swung on me, you know what I'm saying? I tried to kick the snot out of that boy's face. BOP! got him with one, you know what I'm saying?
I had him picked up on the bars, you know what I'm saying? I gave him a couple of something. He was saying something before the guards came. I have gave him a little head butt. Then he's sitting over saying "C.O., help! C.O.!" he yelling for help.
I'm like, "What are you screaming for help now for?" He had a little knot.
I made him scream just like he made them women scream. I think they would feel pretty good about what I did, I think they feel like a little bit more justice is done. I mean, he going to get it when he gets to the pen anyway.
I got no regrets. Like I told the detectives, put me in there with him a little more I'll get y'all a confession.
Verily, I decree that you, good sir, shall never buy a drink in Waldo or Brookside again!
_________________________
* Stitched together from various local news sources.