From Carl Panzram to Holmes: " ... the truth is, there will always be another loner with a grudge."
One girl's escape from sexual slavery:
Forced to use drugs and drink alcohol, Maria says she thought her life would soon end. She was horrified when she saw a very young girl brought into the house where she and others were being kept. She asked the girl how old she was. The answer: eight years old.
Maria says she attempted to escape once. She ran away and asked some police officers on the street for help. What she didn't know was that the officers were on the payroll of the pimp and took her right back into the brothel where she got another savage beating ...
All-girl Russian punk band faces seven years in prison for protesting Putin in a church.
Australian Prime Minister halfway explains her opposition to marriage equality during a Google hangout; promises a conscience vote:
One of the more challenging questions came from Shane Bazzi, a 25-year-old Sydneysider who topped the poll on the OurSay.org website with more than 12,700 votes.
He asked the Prime Minister to explain her opposition to gay marriage given she is as an atheist and leader of a "self-described socially progressive party".
"I don't think that heterosexual relationships are more valued than same-sex relationships," the Prime Minister replied.
"I think people who are in loving, commited relationships, all of those relationships should be valued. I think my relationship should be valued and I'm not married."
She said her view about gay marriage was based on its cultural status and differed from Mr Bazzi's.
"These are very individual personal perspectives on the world...This should be a conscience vote in Labor. We will have a vote on changing the marriage act by the end of the year."
Science shocker: Anal sex is a major vector for HIV transmission.
Following the Boy Scouts' vote to continue discriminating against gays, Major League Soccer announces it will cease partnering with the organization.
Proposed rule from the US Office of Personnel Management would grant benefits to the children of employees' same-sex spouses:
... children will be eligible for coverage if a parent is in a domestic same-sex relationship with a federal employee who receives coverage through federal programs. These children would be eligible for coverage — both under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the Federal Employees Dental & Vision Program — regardless of whether or not they’ve been legally adopted by the federal employee.
... Emily Hecht-McGowan, the Family Equality Council’s public policy director, said the proposed rule is important because many LGBT families throughout the country live in states without legal protections.
“Most of the two million children raised by LGBT parents live in states where their parents cannot marry, cannot secure legal ties to their own kids and cannot get their children covered under a health insurance plan,” Hecht-McGowan said. “This rule change means that federal workers can now be assured that a high fever, broken arm or debilitating illness won’t jeopardize their child’s health or their family’s finances.”
Chinese dictionary writes gayness out of existence.
Feet are burned in a botched Tony Robbins firewalk.
Gay wedding fatigue:
“The equality people will have a fit about this, but I’ll say it anyway: I have gay-wedding burnout,” Mr. Shields, 35, said one day this spring. “I spent my 20s going to weddings, being in weddings, shopping for weddings, helping to plan weddings. In my early 30s they finally started tapering off, and I was like, ‘Oh, thank God, we’re over the hump.’ ”
He paused for dramatic effect. “Nope. Here come the Gays.”
It was going to happen eventually: the Colorado massacre has now been pinned on the gays.
The pinning was done by Fred Jackson, of the American Family Association, on his radio show yesterday. Thanks to RightWingWatch for the transcription:
I think the sources of this is [sic] multifaceted but you can put it all I think under the heading of rebellion to God, a rejection of the God of the Bible. I think along with an education system that has produced our lawyers, our politicians, more teachers, more professors, all of that sort of thing, is our churches, mainline churches. We’ve been dealing Teddy and I know the AFA Journal has been dealing with denominations that no longer believe in the God of the Bible, they no longer believe that Jesus is the only way of salvation, they teach that God is OK with homosexuality, this is just increasing more and more. It is mankind shaking its fist at the authority of God.
Happily, it's not just the gays responsible for James Holmes's midnight movie massacre -- it's everyone who doesn't share Fred Jackson's exact set of values:
In the community there were community standards that reflected biblical principles, whether people knew it or not, the standard in the community was based on Scripture. In that short period of time, roughly forty years, we have seen such a transformation in values in our communities, whether it's rural or whether it's big city. I have to think that all of this, whether it's the Hollywood movies, whether it's what we see on the internets, whether it's liberal bias in the media, whether it's our politicians changing public policy, I think all of those somehow have fit together — and I have to say also churches who are leaving the authority of Scripture and losing their fear of God — all of those things have seem to have come together to give us these kinds of incidents.
Jackson's rant is an example of the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, and it evinces a peculiar kind of historical blindness. Even if Jackson's assertion -- that the advance of social liberalism is responsible for Holmes's killing spree -- happened to be true, which it isn't, wouldn't it follow that Jackson's own, "Scripture-based" conception of morality was responsible for the atrocities perpetrated before we had "Hollywood movies," the "internets," "liberal bias in the media," and pro-gay churches? The massacre in Rosewood, slavery, the extermination of Native Americans, and so forth? What does he make of the fact that, in strictly statistical terms, we're now living in an era far less violent and oppressive than any in human history?
The blame game is difficult to play. There are no rules, and there are seldom winners. Marilyn Manson's 13-year-old essay on the Columbine massacre remains relevant, and more sensible than most of the scribbling yet done on the subject of Colorado's latest tragedy:
When it comes down to who's to blame for the high school murders in Littleton, Colorado, throw a rock and you'll hit someone who's guilty. We're the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns, and we're the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what they do with them. I think it's terrible when anyone dies, especially if it is someone you know and love. But what is more offensive is that when these tragedies happen, most people don't really care any more than they would about the season finale of Friends or The Real World. I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals. Then came the witch hunt.
Man's greatest fear is chaos. It was unthinkable that these kids did not have a simple black-and-white reason for their actions. And so a scapegoat was needed.
Tomorrow evening, various conservative eminences shall gather in a Maryland home, as Buzzfeed has it, to "raise money to advance conservative values on marriage." Which is to say: they want to uphold Maryland's marriage equality law.
The home is that of Cato Institute scholar Walter Olson and his husband, Steve Pippin. The event's "hosting committee," according to the invite received by Buzzfeed, includes, among others, Jonathan Rauch and Andrew Sullivan, whom one might expect to be there; and David Frum, the conservative speechwriter and journalist currently suffering a protracted falling-out with neo-Republican radicals.
The event is taking place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the home of Olson and his husband, Steve Pippin. The couple married in Massachusetts, and Maryland's highest court has held that the state recognizes such out-of-state marriages. The event — with lead hosts donating $500 — benefits Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which is the group formed to fight the referendum on the bill that will be on the ballot this November.
Saying that he wanted to "make sure that the people who are to the right of center were brought in to the campaign in the most effective way," Olson told BuzzFeed, "There are tons and tons of people ... who are not necessarily reached by the more visible element of the campaign, which is often geared toward progressive principles."
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is an Eagle Scout, a gubernatorial candidate, and a Republican. Yesterday, through a spokesman, he denounced this week's decision from Boy Scouts of America to uphold the institution's ban on gays.
The Scouts' decision followed a "two year review," and included this statement:
Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization.
McKenna, who currently serves on the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has discussed with some Boy Scout volunteers in the state how "at least locally, the leaders out here could encourage the national organization to reconsider the national policy."
Given his belief that LGBT people should not be discriminated against in the Boy Scouts, it makes us wonder why he opposes Washington's marriage equality law and wants to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to marry.
GLAAD points out that Attorney General McKenna's Democratic opponent former US Rep. Jay Inslee, also opposes the Scouts' ban.
This week, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy said that the United States' gradual embrace of marriage equality is tantamount to "inviting God's judgment on our nation." In so saying, Cathy invited the judgment of Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino (pictured at right). From the Boston Herald:
[Mayor Menino] is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”
“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.
“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”
Chick-fil-A has long been linked with conservative causes, though seldom so controversially. This week's remarks accomplished what the company's previous Muslim-firings and gay-bashings couldn't, sparking enough backlash to evince a promise from Chick-fil-A execs to stay out of the culture wars from now on. Distinctly odd behavior for a company whose stated purpose isn't to make a profit, but rather "to glorify God." What will God make of Chick-filA's sudden meekness? Maybe Cathy et. al. aren't so pious. Maybe they just don't like gays.
Happy Ramadan to you! Sadly, it will be a sweaty and restless Ramadan in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, for Indonesian Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring shall attempt to eliminate the viewing of online porn during the holy month:
“As this is the Ramadhan fasting month, we need to strengthen our efforts,” ... Sembiring told reporters at a press conference at the ministry on Wednesday.
Tifatul, known for his antics such as claiming he was “forced” to shake the hand of US First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to Jakarta, said that the crackdown would focus on local Internet service providers (ISP).
The viewing of porn is always illegal in Indonesia, thanks to the 2008 Pornography Law -- which outlawed both pornography and "pornoaction," which may include kissing one's spouse, wearing bikinis, or the baring of a lady's shoulder -- but, according to The Jakarta Post, porn is especially dangerous during Ramadan:
[According to Ashwin Sasongko, the "director for informatics applications" at the Communication and Information Ministry,] the crackdown was launched for the benefit of Muslims, who were expected to refrain from sexual intercourse during daylight hours during Ramadhan, among other things.
“We are responsible for protecting the younger generation from consuming destructive pornographic content on the internet,” Ashwin said.
“This is really important especially ahead of Ramadhan. We hope that Muslims can fast peacefully,” Ashwin added.
At least one million pornographic websites have been blocked in Indonesia so far. There are at least one million more to go, according to te Communication and Information Ministry, though their math may be untrustworthy -- the Ministry also claims to have received "at least" 100 million complaints about online pornography in the last year, which equals rather a lot of Indonesians Googling pages they don't want to see. (The year before, the Ministry reported just over 800 such complaints.)
The Global Post notes that some Indonesians have been unable to resist porn's evil allure, including at least one Indonesian in Tifatul Sembiring's own political party:
... Tifatul's views are significantly more conservative than the norm in Indonesia, where voters have time and again offered only scant support to his fundamentalist Prosperous Justice Party ... Last year, a parliamentarian with the party resigned after fellow lawmakers caught him watching porn on his mobile phone.
The Jakarta Post notes a Google report that Indonesia ranks third in the world in internet users seeking pornography, behind only China and, for some reason, Turkey.