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Like Father, Like Son, oh no…

Ted and Rafael Cruz: Like Frightening Father, Like Scary Son.

Extremist antigay preacher Rafael Cruz groomed his son for the presidency since the age of 9 — and now Ted Cruz is ready to put his father's hateful views into practice. (AP Photo)

Extremist antigay preacher Rafael Cruz groomed his son for the presidency since the age of 9 — and now Ted Cruz is ready to put his father’s hateful views into practice. (AP Photo)

Ted Cruz is bad enough all on his own. If Cruz is elected, however, it will be a two-for-one deal. The devil and hellfire Daddy Cruz goes right with him.

If you follow politics at all, you probably know Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s major issue stances — he’s anti-LGBT equality, anti-abortion rights, a proponent of free-market economics and an aggressive foreign policy.

But to really kow Cruz’s worldview, it’s important to know his father, mentor, and top campaign surrogate, 76-year-old Rev. Rafael Cruz.

“Rafael Cruz is an extremist,” Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, tells The Advocate. “He is the senator’s role model. Rafael Cruz spoke at the World Congress of Families event in Utah with a gay-bashing lineup of hateful speakers, and he is Ted’s surrogate traveling across the country on the campaign trail bashing gay people. Like father, like son.”

And the elder Cruz, who hit the campaign trail extensively in Ted’s successful run for U.S. senator from Texas in 2012 and is doing so now in his presidential effort, says the things his son — or almost any politician — can’t get away with.


Among Rafael Cruz’s other antigay greatest hits: At the World Congress of Families event last November, he said gay people want to legalize pedophilia, starting with an effort to strike down age-of-consent laws. Indeed, he has frequently described LGBT people as sexual predators. He has also said marriage equality is part of a government plot to “destroy the concept of God” and establish socialism in the United States.


The lack of distance between father and son shows how dangerous a Ted Cruz presidency would be, Smith tells The Advocate. He “lets his father say all the fiery gay-bashing rhetoric, but Ted Cruz will implement that rhetoric in his policies and appointments,” Smith says. “He is the worst candidate in the race, and I have no doubt he will discriminate against gay and transgender people all over the United States if he is elected president.”

Full Story.


A brief round up of the amazingly stupid and awful…

Rally to keep the Confederate flag flying (Mashable/Twitter)

Rally to keep the Confederate flag flying (Mashable/Twitter)

Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month , adding an official flourish to a longstanding tradition in his state and several others. April, he wrote in the proclamation, is “the month in which the Confederate States began and ended a four-year struggle”.

Bryant’s proclamation does not mention the central cause of the struggle – slavery – but instead announces the month as a chance to “gain insight from our mistakes and successes” and to “earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us”. It also sets aside 25 April as “Confederate Memorial Day”.

Full Story Here.

 Beata Szydło supports the motion to ban abortion. Photograph: East News/REX/Shutterstock

Beata Szydło supports the motion to ban abortion. Photograph: East News/REX/Shutterstock

The Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło, said she backs moves towards a total ban on abortion, in a sign the nationalist government may be set to turn its attention to the nuclear family.

A campaign against abortion is due to be launched this Sunday in the country’s Roman Catholic churches. Priests have been asked to read out a letter from the bishops’ conference calling for Poland’s existing, limited abortion rights to be scrapped.

[Read more…]

The importance of pets

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Thanks to Tim Gueguen for the heads up. Naeila El Shatir, a Syrian refugee, was very happy to be going to Canada, but she also had a great need to ensure another refugee made it with her, her cat Sherry.

“This cat suffered as we suffered in the war. He was always afraid,” she explained. “He spent a very difficult time with us. He always looked at me to ask, ‘When will all of this end?'”


For El Shatir, who counseled refugee children with psychosocial issues, taking care of Sherry became a form of therapy and a way of honouring her sister’s memory.

In February, El Shatir and her elderly mother were accepted as government-sponsored refugees in Canada, but pets were not allowed.

“There is no chance,” El Shatir said. “There is a big list of what you can bring and can’t bring. I can’t bring cats or plants.”

El Shatir was torn over whether to leave Sherry behind. In the end, she entrusted Sherry with her brother who promised to complete the extensive medical screening and paper work required to ship a cat to Canada.


“I thank Canada, its people, its government for giving the Syrian people a chance to restart our lives again. To have a chance to live in a normal way and a safe way. Also for giving my cat another chance to live.”

There seems to be a prevailing sense that any refugee should be damn glad to be out of a bad situation, who cares if they are treated like human beings floating about. It’s good to see there are people who do understand how difficult it is for refugees, and something like a beloved pet can make all the difference to a person, especially one who has been subjected to ongoing trauma. You Canadians are serious nice.

Washington D.C.: travel ban to NC

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

Washington D.C. Bans Employees From Traveling to North Carolina

The mayor of Washington, D.C., has banned all nonessential employee travel to North Carolina after the state passed an anti-LGBT law that bars transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out the executive order banning travel for government employees, saying, “We stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination.”


D.C. joins Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Chicago,Vermont, and Washington State in barring employees from traveling to North Carolina.

When Indiana passed a so-called religious freedom bill last year, a similar backlash had entire states clamping down on travel. The governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington all issued orders banning nonessential travel to Indiana until that law was amended.


The consequences to North Carolina, its economics, and its reputation as an inclusive state are piling up. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit. The entertainment company Lionsgate has relocated a television series. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is asking North Carolina businesses to move to the Windy City in order to avoid controversy.

Full story here. It’s good to see people pouring on the pressure. Sooner or later, the message that hate is not to be legislated must hit home, and hard.

Prison Art

It’s not often you see a prison program which works, but every now and then, someone gets it right. Prison art program The Torch seeks to rehabilitate Aboriginal inmates. The art work is amazing and beautiful, and not only provides a way to make a living, pile up a bit of cash while serving a sentence, prevents recidivism, it helps to reconnect indigenous people with their roots. That last is crucial for indigenous people everywhere. For every indigenous person being forced into a colonial lifestyle, the odds aren’t good. This is highlighted, briefly, in the article:

Mr Morris said Indigenous Australians made up less than 3 per cent of the population, but close to 30 per cent of the prison population.
“They’re 15 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous Australians,” he said.
And rates of reoffending are also too high. “Developing economic opportunity and independence allows participants to start afresh, start again and get over that cycle of poverty and disadvantage,” Mr Morris said.


Photo: Works painted by former and current inmates of Victorian prisons. (ABC News)



Photo: The Torch program helps Aboriginal inmates reconnect with their heritage. (ABC News)

Go Anti-Social


Antisocial networks: how to avoid Facebook ‘friends’ and irritate people.

“I think that the age of mass social networking has reached its peak, at least for us first-worlders,” said Cloak’s co-creator Chris Baker, who also founded the hugely successful viral news platform Buzzfeed . “Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are public arenas where we cultivate versions of ourselves that are well-manicured, mostly false, and always ‘on’. I think that is what’s beginning to wane. We’re exhausted from it and by it. Now platforms that enable ephemeral, private and very loose moments are starting to become hugely mainstream. Antisocial stuff is on the rise. Social has had its moment in the sun. Now people are beginning to revolt.”


There is evidence that Facebook and Twitter make many of us unhappy as they push us to maintain an unrealistically positive public persona. A recent University of London study explained: “The public nature of a user’s Facebook profile means that users’ social lives are particularly open to scrutiny from others.” And the network can even break up relationships: “Site use can lead to increased jealousy and/or obsessive behaviour, as a result of the opportunities it provides users to access … information about their partner that would not otherwise be accessible.”

The fear of being judged has resulted in social networking excluding many people who lack social confidence.

6 Best Anti Social Apps to Stay Away from People You Don’t Like

Some of these sound pretty interesting, but blogging is about my limit, and with three blogs, that limit is pushed. For now, I think even anti-social networking is still too much network for me.

Sunday Facepalm

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

Doctor with a syringe (Shutterstock)

This is not remotely amusing, it’s fucking infuriating. As a pain patient myself, I know the lengths people will go to in order to live something resembling a pain-free life. Pain can consume you, it becomes your whole damn landscape, internally and externally. For this…disgrace of a person to be allowed to carry on with this should be a crime, and he should not be allowed to practice in any way.

A man known as “Dr. Mike” in Edmond, Oklahoma is being questioned by the community about the ingredients of what he calls a “Jesus shot.”

The full name of “Dr. Mike” is John Michael Lonergan, and in 2005 he had his license to practice medicine revoked in Ohio after he was convicted of eight felony counts of tax evasion, mail fraud and health care fraud. After he was released from prison, “Dr. Mike” moved to Oklahoma, which granted him a license to practice medicine on a provisional, supervised basis.

According to News 9, “Dr. Mike” has been injecting local residents with something he calls the “Jesus shot,” which allegedly cures all pain for life. At his clinic, he has been charging people $300 per “miracle injection.” […]

Last month, one Oklahoma resident curious about “Dr. Mike” posted about him in a forum devoted to “outing people who falsely claim military service.”

“Nobody knows anything about this guy,” she wrote, “but he claims that he is a Former Special Forces Doctor and him and another Special Forces Doctor developed a serum for the military called Jesus Juice and it has been used in the military for years and it cures any ailment.” […]

The Oklahoma Medical Board terminated its supervisory agreement with “Dr. Mike” in March of last year, News 9 reports, but the terms of that agreement allowed him to continue to practice medicine, unsupervised, for another 12 months.

The rest of the Raw Story article is here.

A later report, from National Pain Report has this to add:

It can’t be substantiated but a Dr. Schrick told reporters that it is a mixture of Kenalog, Vitamin B12 and dexamethasone. Oh, and it had another less exciting name: inflammation protocol.



Uganda’s beleaguered LGBT community continues to raise its voice — and visibility — with the new edition of the country’s first magazine created by and for queer Ugandans.

The raw courage of some people awes me, and fills me with hope. That’s certainly the case with LGBT activists in Uganda, who are literally putting their lives on the line in the hope of understanding and acceptance.

Living in a nation that proudly criminalizes LGBT identity would be enough to make most people stay in the closet — but LGBT activists in Uganda refuse to be silenced or ignored. In fact, they’re downright Bombastic.

Led by prominent human rights defender and out lesbian Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, LGBT activists in Uganda released the second edition of Bombastic magazine today, on the International Day of Transgender Visibility.

Launched in December 2014, Bombastic is Uganda’s first and only publication created by and for the beleaguered LGBTI community in the East African nation. Its slogan — “our voices, our stories, our lives” — speaks to the importance its editorial team places on elevating the first-hand experiences and struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans living at home and abroad, rather than seeing those stories told through a lens of Western, predominantly white journalists. The first edition of the magazine has been downloaded more than 2 million times, according to Kuchu Times Media Group.

“This publication is a humble call to all Ugandans to understand our plight and not judge us based on the misconceptions told to them,” Nabagesera said in a statement accompanying the latest edition. “We are not calling on Ugandans to become LGBTI nor are we asking for special treatment, we are simply calling on our fellow society to recognize that we are part and parcel of the Ugandan society and any unfair treatment towards us simply because of who we love is an injustice to the whole society.”

The full story is here. Please note that the full cover photo, which is at the link, is NSFW.