Crazy Christian Ladies Can Run, but They Can’t Hide

Heh.

Never underestimate the power of the Woozle to expose to daylight what you’d rather hide. So much for trying to delete a shameful post. This will remain long after the cached page is gone.

Janine from Farmington, who used to be Raani from Ft. Worth, tried to password-protect her blog to hide it from the prying eyes of us sodomite-loving godless sorts, but funny thing about Google cache – it allows you to view the page in all its wretched glory. The latest offering is a rather spectacularly hateful guest post by Pastor Anderson, in which he manages to misinterpret Genesis to a remarkable degree:

2. How Do the Sodomites Recruit Others to their Lifestyle?

Every Sodomite in the Bible is a rapist or molester. The Bible tells three sickening stories about Sodomites and every one of the three stories involves someone being violated against their will.


Example #1

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. – Genesis 9:20-24


The first Sodomite mentioned in the Bible is Ham. Ham took advantage of his own father Noah while he was drunk. He didn’t just see his father’s nakedness; the Bible says that Noah knew what his younger son had done unto him. The first example of homosexuality in the Bible involves a person being violated against his will.

A normal person (i.e., not a frothing fundie with a sick as fuck mind) reads the following sequence of events: Ham sees Noah drunk and naked, ran out and blabbed to his brothers, said brothers squeamishly backed into the tent and covered Daddy up without looking, and Noah got pissed because he found out Ham had ratted him out for being a naked drunken slob.

Pastor Anderson, however, somehow pictures a rape scene. I’d hate to see his Rorschach test results.

After much more picking apart the Bible for filthy bits in order to prove his fucktarded theories, the Pastor solemnly calls for intolerance:

It is time that preachers and Baptist people take a stand against the Sodomite freaks and turn off the television that tries to shove their perversion down our throat. God help a generation of Christians that does not think that homosexuality is “that bad.” We need a revival of old-fashioned righteous indignation and hatred for sin and perverts.

The next time someone tries to ban pornography while extolling the Bible and its virtues, at least I have a list of salacious verses to point them to.

This is the face of fundamentalist Christian love. These are the sorts of people extorting companies that support No on Prop 8. These are the types who cheer on abortion clinic bombers. This is Sarah Palin’s fan club.

And they want to run this country.

Expose them. Ridicule them. Drive them back to the fringe where they belong.

Proofreading’s for Elitists

Republicon political protestors: “We’ll spend a gawdawful amount of money to hire a plane, print a banner, and fly over an Obama rally, but we’ll be damned if we proofread first!”


(MIAMI) As Michelle and Barack Obama took the stage at Bicentennial Park tonight, a plane flew over the event with a banner that read, “Barak Repudiate Ayres, Michelle Repudiate Dorhn.” As you may have noticed, Obama’s first name is spelled wrong on the banner, as is Ayers’ last name.

It takes real talent to be as oblivious as the Republicon base.

Ancient Poetry: Drink Deep the Wine Dark Sea

Studying poetry in school felt like slow, merciless death. Those few weeks spent perusing the most insipid pap imaginable every year, tearing down the lines into rhyme, meter and all of the other technical detail, destroyed its power. I came away with the understanding that people in the ancient world were stuffy, insufferable boors. Why the fuck did people make such a fuss about this stuff? What was so great about it?

We were given tap water in safe spoonfuls, when there was a whole briny ocean out there to drink. We were restricted to a European reservation, with no idea that a whole world existed beyond our placid borders. Poetry had no meaning. It whispered in those dull rooms, while outside it shouted. And I never knew.

Caught the occasional glimpse, here and there. ee cummings and his brilliant Buffalo Bill. Ben Jonson’s superb The Noble Nature. Shakespeare’s dramatic and powerful Sonnet XXXV. Emily Dickenson’s deceptively simple I Took My Power in My Hand. But there were just a smattering. A taste of salt on my lips.

Then I discovered the wine dark sea, and set sail through the ancient world. The Islamic Empire. Ancient Greece. The old empires of China and Japan. Here was power. Here was passion. Here were the simple things made profound, the celebrations and the lamentations, the immensity I’d been told existed but had never been shown. And the laughter!

Set sail with me. And I know what you’re saying – my friend Monique said the same thing, once, when we were discussing poetry. “You just don’t think of old poets as being funny.” Of course you don’t. We’re never shown the whimsy, the apostasy, the robust ribald humor that existed in the ancient world. We’re just shown marble ideals.

It’s not like that at all.

Start drinking:

Abu Nuwas, Father Locks, would scoff at the idea that poetry must be something rarified and starched with dignity. He made fun of those poets of his day who slavishly followed the old conventions. Poetry in his age was stuck in a rut of morose Bedouin themes, contemplating the ashes of abandoned campsites and wailing over the simple life lost, while the glory of civilization beckoned. Abu Nuwas was having none of it:

The wretch paused to question an abandoned campsite,
While I paused to inquire about the neighborhood tavern.
May God never dry the tears of those who cry over stones,
Nor ease the love-pangs of those who yearn for tent pegs.
They said, “You mentioned the neighborhood where the Asads hail from…”
Shame on you! Tell me, who are the Asad family, anyway?
And who are the Tamim and the Qays and all of their ilk?
In God’s eyes, the Bedouins are nothing!

Forget all of that! Get on with yourself, and drink a fine vintage instead:
Golden-hued, it mingles with water and froth
As it pours from the hand of a slim-waisted beauty,
Who resembles a willow branch, flaunting its graceful bearing.
When the barkeeper saw that I’d been smitten,
He greeted me, making sure that I am lavish in my giving,
Then he brought me a cup brimming with the choices of wines,
Letting none other grasp it, straight from his hand to mine.

Give and be generous with all that your hand possesses,
Don’t hoard a thing today fearing poverty tomorrow.
What a difference between those who buy wine and enjoy it
Versus those who weep over the traces of old campsites!
Oh, you who rebuke me! Your signal has reached me
Though my pardon encompasses it, do not repeat it.
Were it meant as advice, then I’d accept your reproach
But your chiding is based upon envy instead.

Where was that poem when I was suffering in school? Where was glorious Father Locks and his brilliant paens to wine? If I’d stayed on the reservation created by our schools, I’d never have known about the Islamic Empire’s golden age, much less their robust tradition of khamriyyat - wine poems. Gives you a rather different impression of what the ancients got up to, doesn’t it?

Wine flows through those seas of poetry. Here’s Du Fu, a Tang Dynasty poet, who seems on the surface to have little to do with Abu Nuwas and his irreverance:

View From a Height (tr. David Lunde)

Sharp wind, towering sky, apes howling mournfully;
untouched island, white sand, birds flying in circles.
Infinite forest, bleakly shedding leaf after leaf;
inexhaustible river, rolling on wave after wave.
Through a thousand miles of melancholy autumn, I travel;
carrying a hundred years of sickness, I climb to this terrace.
Hardship and bitter regret have frosted my temples–
and what torments me most? Giving up wine!

See how he ends! Profundity followed by whimsy – it’s what I’ve come to love most about Chinese and Japanese poetry. No wallowing in morbid thoughts for them, not for long – even the most morbid subject ends up being light as air. How much easier life is when you can meet its worst blows with a shrug and a smile!

Day after day we can’t help growing older.
Year after year spring can’t help seeming younger.
Come let’s enjoy our winecup today,
Not pity the flowers fallen!

Wang Wei’s “On Parting With Spring” captures the essence of how we can live joyfully in a changing world, doesn’t it? He and Abu Nuwas would have had plenty to say to each other over those winecups.

Kobayashi Issa would have something to say to someone who got too morose over winter:


the dead tree
blooming
with butterflies


Bam! There you are. The haiku we studied in school was never like this – it was Westernized, paying too much attention to syllable count to translate
meaning. Just let it be! Let us see that dead tree blooming with a million butterflies. Set it free.

Forget the insipid love poetry that made us think falling in love would be about as exciting as a chaperoned stroll. This is how it really is:


He’s equal with the Gods, that man
Who sits across from you,
Face to face, close enough, to sip
Your voice’s sweetness,
And what excites my mind,
Your laughter, glittering. So,
When I see you, for a moment,
My voice goes,
My tongue freezes. Fire,
Delicate fire, in the flesh.
Blind, stunned, the sound
Of thunder, in my ears.
Shivering with sweat, cold
Tremors over the skin,
I turn the colour of dead grass,
And I’m an inch from dying.


That was Sappho. I don’t need to say anything more, do I?

Alcaeus returns us to our theme of wine. I can see him speaking this famous line to a young Abu Nuwas: “Wine, dear boy, and truth.” Only that fragment survives of what must have been an extraordinary poem. But we have this, almost whole:


Come tip a few with me,
Melanippus, and you’ll see
why you crossed over Acheron
once again searching for the sun.

Come drink. Don’t set your sights
too high. Even King Sisyphus-
among all men, the wisest-
thought he might outsmart Death,

only to cross Acheron twice:
the judgement of Fate.
And now he labors endlesly
in Hades.

Come drink, and celebrate
while we are young. Later,
we will…the north wind blows.


All of these poets could have sat in the same tavern, drinking, celebrating the moment. Life is short, and precious. They seized it with poetry. They gave us an ocean.

They saw the truth, and shared it.

Why are we here? What is our purpose?

To drink!


Drink the still water
of the song of the ages.
Light of the stream, and
calm of the fountain!

-Garcia Lorca, “Ballad of the Small Plaza”


Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

I have a Special Edition Palin-Bashing session in store, but the McCain/Palin ticket is only “news” the way that “beans make you fart” is, so let’s start with the meat before we dig into the pudding, shall we?

So how far will the slimy shits otherwise known as Republicon party officials go to ensure scary brown people, dirty hippies, and other assorted Dems don’t vote this year? Holy shit:

Minority voters in New Mexico report to TPMmuckraker that a private investigator working with Republican party lawyer Pat Rogers has appeared in person at the homes of their family members, intimidating and confusing them about their right to vote in the general election.

Earlier this week, we reported that Rogers — a lawyer and state committeeman for the GOP, who in previous elections worked closely with the party in pressuring New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to pursue bogus voter fraud cases — is involved with a new effort to gin up concerns about the issue. Last week the state party falsely claimed that 28 people had voted fraudulently in a local Democratic primary race in June. Rogers, described in an Associated Press report on the allegations as “an attorney who advises the state GOP,” told the news wire that the party planned to turn the suspect forms over to law enforcement authorities.

The visits to minority voters by the P.I. appear to be connected to last week’s effort.

You really have to go read the muck TPM Muckraker’s discovered. These people are getting over-the-top insane. They know they can’t win on ideas, so they’re pulling out all the stops on threats, intimidation, and Mafiosi tactics.

They may have flagrantly crossed the line this time. Expect an ass-whupping of epic proportions if this goes forward:

Four separate experts on voting rights have confirmed to TPMmuckraker that the behavior of a private investigator apparently hired by a New Mexico Republican party lawyer, that we reported this morning, potentially violates federal voting laws.

Gerry Hebert, a former acting head of the voting rights section of the Department of Justice, told TPMmuckraker that the P.I.’s actions appear to violate the criminal section of the federal Voting Rights Act, which makes it a crime to willfully injure, intimidate, or interfere with a person attempting to vote. Hebert added that a separate statute makes it a crime to conspire to intimidate someone in exercising their right to vote — a provision that could apply to GOP lawyer Pat Rogers or others in the state party who may have been involved in the scheme.

“A matter like that ought to be reported to the DOJ immediately,” said Hebert, adding that he planned to do so.

Even Bush’s DOJ may not be able to ignore something this blatant.

And the outrageous Republicon behavior continues, with the far right-wing deciding that it’s totally within bounds to spin conspiracy theories around a visit to a dying grandmother:

Summary: Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, and Jerome Corsi suggested or asserted that the true purpose of Sen. Barack Obama’s current trip to Hawaii is not to visit his ailing grandmother, as Obama claims, but rather to address rumors — widely debunked — that Obama has failed to produce a valid U.S. birth certificate. However, in addition to FactCheck.org and a Hawaiian Health Department official, even Corsi’s employer, the right-wing website WorldNetDaily, has reportedly determined that the birth certificate provided by the Obama campaign is authentic.

Question: when are we going to kick these disgusting fucktards out of the national spotlight?

We’re set to kick them out of our own party. Remember Rep. Tim “I Loves Me Some Adultery” Mahoney? He’s fucking finished:

ABCNews.com reports that documents show Mahoney asked Patricia Allen, his former mistress and staffer to engage in phone sex and perform as a “tease c-ck” for big donors.

From ABCNews.com:

The settlement was reached after Allen hired a lawyer who sent the Congressman a “demand” letter, listing specific examples of Mahoney’s alleged “gross misconduct” and “stalking” including:

a) Calling Allen late in the evenings and demanding “phone sex;”
b) Demanding that Allen answer his calls or face termination;
c) Demanding that Allen attend fundraisers and “tease c-ck” to bring in more donations from the male members of the public;
d) Demanding that Allen engage in sexual conduct with another woman for his enjoyment.

Current and former staffers told ABC News the allegations contained in the “demand letter” sent to Mahoney were backed up by tape recordings of phone calls between the Congressman and Allen.

He sure as shit won’t survive this. It’s the only seat Republicons are certain to swipe from a Democrat. Good fucking riddance. He should have stayed with the Republicon party – Vitters, Craig et al didn’t seem to have any trouble surviving sordid sex scandals.

Right, then. On to the McCain/Palin bashing portion of our program.

There’s no challenge left. McCain & Co. are so spectacularly ridiculous that the political fuckery just writes itself.

Every statement they make falls into the category of “self-parody.” If they say “up,” you can be sure the truth is “down.” Take, for instance their loudly-trumpeted image as “maverick reformers.” In order to be a “maverick reformer,” it would seem a prerequisite that you a) don’t vote with Bush 90% of the time, b) don’t parrot every far-right talking point, and c) aren’t crooked as a crippled dog’s hind leg:

In her Republican convention speech, Sarah Palin boasted that she “took on the old politics as usual” in Alaska, “stood up to…the good old boys,” and “put the government of our state back on the side of the people.”

The
LA Times’
Charles Piller took a closer look at Palin’s approach to government, though, and found the kind of cronyism that would even make Bush blush.

* More than 100 appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications…. Palin filled 16 state offices with appointees from families that donated $2,000 to $5,600 and were among her top political patrons.

* Several of Palin’s leading campaign donors received state-subsidized industrial development loans of up to $3.6 million for business ventures of questionable public value.

* Palin picked a donor to replace the public safety commissioner she fired. But the new top cop had to resign days later under an ethics cloud. And Palin drew a formal ethics complaint still pending against her and several aides for allegedly helping another donor and fundraiser land a state job.

Most new governors install friends and supporters in state jobs. But Alaska historians say some of Palin’s appointees were less qualified than those of her Republican and Democratic predecessors.

Terrence Cole, an Alaska political historian, said Palin showed “a disrespect for experience,” picking donors and friends for key government positions they had no business filling.

It seems to me they may be a little confused about the terms “maverick” and “reformer.” That’s not surprising, since they’re also confused about the term “domestic terrorist:”

In her interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that Bill Ayers is “no question” a terrorist because he sought to destroy the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. Palin, however, refused to apply the same label to abortion clinic bombers:

Q: Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist, under this definition, governor?

PALIN: (Sigh). There’s no question that Bill Ayers via his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our U.S. Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist. There’s no question there. Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that uh, it would be unacceptable. I don’t know if you’re going to use the word terrorist there.

Steve Benen helps them out:

I was curious about the dictionary definition of the word: “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.” Sounds about right.

Given this, we have an organized group of activists who feel justified killing American physicians and bombing hundreds of doctors’ offices on U.S. soil because they don’t like a legal, medical procedure. “I don’t know if you’re gonna use the word ‘terrorist’ there.” Why, pray tell, not? And does John McCain, who sat silently during the exchange, agree with this?

Actually, he might. ThinkProgress noted a couple of weeks ago that McCain has “repeatedly voted against protecting Americans from domestic terrorists carrying out violence at abortion clinics.”

There’s a striking disconnect here. Obama has denounced Ayers’ crimes, and labeled Ayers’ acts “terrorism.” The Republican ticket, however, is reluctant to do the same when it comes to a different kind of domestic terrorism.

Of course. Republicons believe that terrorists either must be brown or leftist. Right-wing white people cannot possibly be terrorists. Neither would William Ayers, if he’d donated to the McCain campaign.

Everything is relative to circumstances in the Republicon mind. Take Sarah Palin. Whether or not she’s a feminist depends very much on the context, y’see:

Yesterday in her interview with NBC, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) told NBC’s Brian Williams that she rejected the “label” of being called a feminist:

WILLIAMS: Governor, are you a feminist?

PALIN: I’m not going to label myself anything, Brian. And I think that’s what annoys a lot of Americans, especially in a political campaign, is to start trying to label different parts of America, different backgrounds, different — I’m not going to put a label on myself.

But in the past, Palin has been more than willing to tout her feminist credentials. From a Sept. 30 interview with CBS’s Katie Couric:

COURIC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

PALIN: I do. A feminist who believes in equal rights.

Republicon women are only feminists when they’re in the presence of other females. Far be it from them to continue to be feminists when the menfolk are present.

Republicons in general are only for programs that will benefit them. You’ll observe that special needs children were not so much as mentioned before Sarah Palin showed up on the scene with hers. Now, suddenly, they’re a hot political commodity, and it’s time to get rid of those nasty earmarks so we can fund those kids!

This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) gave her first policy speech urging the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), “a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.” In the speech, Palin cited the need to do more for children with disabilities such as autism:

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.

Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks “is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA.” She then ridiculed some of the projects — such as “fruit fly research” — saying they have little or no value:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] You’ve heard about some of
these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

Remember what I said about self-parody? Heh. Yeah.

Palin did not specify what fruit fly research earmark she was referring to (presumably a grant for olive fruit fly research), but she is apparently unaware that scientific research with fruit flies has led to valuable discoveries that have boosted autism research, as a study at the University of North Carolina demonstrated last year…

Open mouth, shoot self in foot. I have to say, her aim is absolutely dead-on.

Let the above be the answer to the misguided friend who sent me an email earlier today asking me, in apparent seriousness, to join him in voting for McCain.

Not no, but fuck NO.

I have a brain, thank you so very much. I prefer to vote for someone who possesses one as well.

Pat Yourselves on the Back, Netroots!

Oh, yeah. We are a force to be reckoned with, baby, yeah!

In his debate yesterday with Larry Kissell, Robin Hayes now has a new explanation for why he said “liberals hate real Americans.” First he didn’t say it, then the audio clip surfaced, and now — it was all because of liberal bloggers! […]

I’m personally quite thrilled that we’ve become such great all-purpose bogeyman. I feel like I need a foot rub and a cigarette.

Add me a margarita to that order. Yowsa!

Peter Daou has a thoughtful piece looking back on the growth of the netroots at the Huffington Post, entitled “On November Fourth, the Netroots Should Be More Than an Afterthought“:

We should acknowledge that the netroots kept hope alive when our system of checks and balances was in mortal danger, kept hope alive when civil liberties were fast becoming disposable niceties. We should realize that back when Billmon and Bob Somerby and a gentle soul with a sharp pen named Steve Gilliard were required reading, when Digby was a mystery man and Firedoglake was a new blog with an intriguing name, when citizens across the country began logging on and conversing from the heart, there was no glory in political blogging. There still isn’t. No one knew if blogs would become quaint artifacts. Many hoped they would. Blogging was about speaking up for America’s guiding principles, liberty, justice, equality, opportunity, democracy.

We did all that? Little old us?

Daamn.

It’s a good thing we’re too busy standing up for liberty, justice, equality, et al to let all those good deeds go to our heads. Otherwise we may not fit into our hats.

But let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that regular citizens speaking out have changed the political landscape. That would be us. The political bloggers and their readers, together, have become a force that politicians fear – or, at least, think are powerful enough to be viable as an all-purpose scapegoat when they get their asses scalded by their own burning stupidity.

I’m damned proud of us. Pour another glass and raise ‘em high:

Salud, netroots!

Friday Favorite Grandmother Memories

Obama’s grandmother may not make it to Election Day. He’s spending the next couple of days with her, and then sacrificing their last precious moments together so that America has a fighting chance at a future.

“We’re all praying and we hope she does, but one of the things I want to make sure of is I had a chance to sit down with her and to talk to her. She’s still alert and she’s still got all her faculties. And I want to make sure that I don’t miss that opportunity,” he said.

[snip]

Obama said his grandmother has been inundated with phone calls, e-mails and flowers from strangers.

“And so maybe she is getting a sense of, of long-deserved recognition at — toward the end of her life,” Obama told ABC.

I’m picturing here there, surrounded by flowers, sitting with her grandson, and I can imagine her pride in him. I’m not sure if she realizes just how much of this epic moment in American history is due to her. Grandmothers don’t often take the credit they deserve. They’re too busy adoring their grandkids.

Without Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama wouldn’t be the man he is today. He may not have had the compassion, judgement, wisdom and vision to become the president America needs. I can never thank her enough for the hope she’s given us.

So I want to take this moment to celebrate grandmothers. I want them to know just how cherished they are.

I wouldn’t even remember my paternal grandmother if my parents hadn’t hauled me back to Indiana just before she died. At six, I didn’t understand that breast cancer was eating her alive. She seemed eternal to me. She made me fearless.

Her arm was a huge, swollen red mass – she jokingly called it an elephant’s leg. She suffered extreme hot flashes. But she smiled through all of that pain and discomfort. She lavished affection on me, making me feel like I was the precise center of the universe. I remember her grace in those last weeks. I remember her strength. I remember doing dishes with her (not that I was much help!), marveling at the ceramics she’d made, beautiful teapots and cups painted with cheery colors and forget-me-nots. She seemed like the archetypical grandma, and I was in love.

The clearest memory I have of those magical weeks was the afternoon when she was bedridden. When I was sick, my mom read me stories, so of course I’d do the same for her. I plopped myself down on an old wooden chair by her bed, and labored through some silly story in one of my schoolbooks. She listened with rapt attention, as if those simple sentences were the greatest works in the English language, and I the most eloquent reader of them all.

Midway through the story, one of the family members barged in to ask a question. My grandmother reared up on an elbow. Her “SHHH!” rebounded off the walls. “Dana’s reading to me!”

Oh, how proud I felt! Nothing on earth meant more to her than having her granddaughter reading to her. No one was more important than a six year-old girl with a book in hand. I really am a good reader, I realized! The family member backed out with a grin, and I finished reading the whole book, feeling that I was doing something unique and incredibly special, reassured in my skill.

I already had a strong love of books, but that moment is what etched into my soul forever the power of stories. On that day, I became a storyteller.

Memories of my maternal grandmother aren’t so concentrated. We had many more years together. We lived too far apart to be close in a daily sort of way, but no time or distance mattered. Neither did forwarning. One night, my parents and I were lazing in front of the TV when the front door flew open. For a wild instant, as we scrambled to our feet and the dogs barked, we thought we were being robbed. But no – it was just my grandma, barging through the door with a pillow and a bag, marching triumphantly into the house. She and my grandfather had decided to drive half a continent just to surprise us. The shock and joy at her successful trick delighted her.

She had a laugh that made me glow. I remember standing on our back porch with her, gazing at the mountains that reared up over the forest beyond our back yard. “Grandma, how can you live in a place where you can’t look at mountains every day?” I demanded suddenly. She just laughed, and tried to tell me that Indiana had its own beauties, but all I could hear was that half-sigh, half-chuckle, beaming deep in my being like a personal sun.

She never did convince me Indiana was better than Arizona. She did, however, introduce me to the glories of shopping. She bought me my first silk scarf, which was the most exotic thing I could ever imagine. I thought only sultans and princesses in distant lands got silk. To this day, whenever I buy something woven from silk, I remember that square of brilliantly-colored material that she placed in my hands.

One of the last times I saw her was when she placed another exotic item in my hand: a sparkler. We were in her back yard in Indiana in late August, and the relations had been out buying fireworks. I was sixteen, and I’d never held one before. They’re illegal in Arizona – light a sparkler, and the whole state could go up in flames. I remember her standing on the porch, handing sparklers to grandkids and sending us out to draw designs in the air with silver fire. There’s nothing quite like a grandmother’s contented expression when she’s watching a yard full of grandkids having the time of their young lives.

My grandmothers gave me a sense of wonder, and a center of hope and love that I’ve carried with me through a lifetime. Those memories of them are among the most precious I have.

Grandmothers are unique. We’re lucky to have them.

Lies, Bigotry – and Extortion

The religious right has gotten so drunk on their own supposed power that they feel comfortable resorting to blatant blackmail to get their way:

Apparently all’s fair when you’re trying to deny folks their rights.

The letter from Yes on 8 came by certified mail, demanding at least $10,000. Jim Abbot knows exactly why he’s being targeted – his business gave $10,000 to a group called Equality California, which supports No on Prop 9..

..The letter says if Jim doesn’t give an equal donation to Yes on 8, the name of his company will be published. It reads in part, “It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organizations oppose traditional marriage.

It’s fucking official.

The anti-gay frothers trying to force an anti-gay marriage amendment onto California’s constitution proudly own this thing. The .pdf of the extortion letter they sent is here. It’s on their letterhead, with their signatures. Some key paragraphs from the letter sent to Abbot & Associates:


We respectfully request that Abbot & Associates withdraw its support of Equity California. Make a donation of a like amount to ProtectMarriage.com which will help us correct this error and restore Traditional Marriage. A donation form is enclosed. We will be most grateful and will advertise on our website Abbot & Associates’ generous contribution.

Were you to elect not to donate comparably, it would be a clear indication that you are in opposition to traditional marriage. You would leave us no other reasonable assumption. The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to ProtectMarriage.com but have given to Equality California will be published. It is only fair for Proposition 8 supporters to know which companies and organizations support traditional marriage.

We will contact you shortly to discuss your contribution sincerely hoping to receive your positive response.

That’s not only extortion. It’s language the Mafia would be proud of.

Who are the wanna-be Mafiosi?

Ron Prentice
Yes on Prop 8,
Campaign Chairman

Edward Dolejsi
Executive Director, California Catholic Conference

Mark A. Jansson
Executive Committee Member

Andrew Pugno
General Counsel

Only their leading lights. They’re not even using proxies.

Usually, when right-wing groups are caught in something so egregiously evil it could harm their cause, they try to back away. Not these fuckers. They’re proud of themselves:

But when asked about the letter to Equality California donors, Prentice confirmed they were authentic and said the ProtectMarriage.com campaign was asking businesses backing the other side “to reconsider taking a position on a moral issue in California.”

[snip]

“I think the IDing of, or outing of, any company is very secondary to the question of why especially a public corporation would choose to take a side knowing it would splinter it’s own clientele,” he said.

This says something utterly incredible about these ratfuckers. Not only do they think extortion is acceptable, they believe that so many people agree with their rabid fear of gay marriage that threatening to “out” a company that doesn’t agree with them will produce compliance with their agenda. As if companies haven’t gone round trumpeting their fair and equal treatment of gays. As if companies don’t take enormous pride in their diversity. These fucking morons are so locked in their rigid anti-gay worldview that they don’t realize they’re trying to rob these companies with a toy gun.

Let’s send them a message that blackmail won’t be tolerated. Let’s stand for equal rights for same-sex couples. If you’ve got a few spare bucks, try to get yourself on Prentice’s list of people to out. Donate here.

A Touch of Crass

These fuckheads have no shame:

Republican strategist Brad Blakeman, responding to a question about how John McCain could square his opposition to wasteful spending with the RNC shelling out over $150,000 on clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin, said that the real outrage is Barack Obama “taking a 767 campaign plane to go visit Grandma.” This is the same grandmother who raised Obama and who is very seriously ill.

This from the party of “family values.”

Using your campaign plane to rush to your dying grandmother’s side is in no way morally equivalent to breaking campaign finance law to tart up Caribou Barbie “because she needs clothes.” The fact that these fuckers thinks it’s worse tells you all you’ll ever need to know about the morality and values of the right wing.

If you feel moved to make a statement, Ratmach at Daily Kos has created an Act Blue page where you can make donations to Obama in his grandmother’s name. [4:19 am Pacific – Act Blue’s server has the blues. Ah, well, there’s always the campaign’s website.]